cp(1) — Linux manual page


CP(1)                         User Commands                        CP(1)

NAME         top

       cp - copy files and directories

SYNOPSIS         top

       cp [OPTION]... [-T] SOURCE DEST
       cp [OPTION]... -t DIRECTORY SOURCE...

DESCRIPTION         top

       Copy SOURCE to DEST, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.

       Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short
       options too.

       -a, --archive
              same as -dR --preserve=all

              don't copy the file data, just the attributes

              make a backup of each existing destination file

       -b     like --backup but does not accept an argument

              copy contents of special files when recursive

       -d     same as --no-dereference --preserve=links

              explain how a file is copied.  Implies -v

       -f, --force
              if an existing destination file cannot be opened, remove
              it and try again (this option is ignored when the -n
              option is also used)

       -i, --interactive
              prompt before overwrite (overrides a previous -n option)

       -H     follow command-line symbolic links in SOURCE

       -l, --link
              hard link files instead of copying

       -L, --dereference
              always follow symbolic links in SOURCE

       -n, --no-clobber
              do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a -u or
              previous -i option). See also --update

       -P, --no-dereference
              never follow symbolic links in SOURCE

       -p     same as --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps

              preserve the specified attributes

              don't preserve the specified attributes

              use full source file name under DIRECTORY

       -R, -r, --recursive
              copy directories recursively

              control clone/CoW copies. See below

              remove each existing destination file before attempting to
              open it (contrast with --force)

              control creation of sparse files. See below

              remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE argument

       -s, --symbolic-link
              make symbolic links instead of copying

       -S, --suffix=SUFFIX
              override the usual backup suffix

       -t, --target-directory=DIRECTORY
              copy all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY

       -T, --no-target-directory
              treat DEST as a normal file

              control which existing files are updated;
              UPDATE={all,none,older(default)}.  See below

       -u     equivalent to --update[=older]

       -v, --verbose
              explain what is being done

       -x, --one-file-system
              stay on this file system

       -Z     set SELinux security context of destination file to
              default type

              like -Z, or if CTX is specified then set the SELinux or
              SMACK security context to CTX

       --help display this help and exit

              output version information and exit

       ATTR_LIST is a comma-separated list of attributes. Attributes are
       'mode' for permissions (including any ACL and xattr permissions),
       'ownership' for user and group, 'timestamps' for file timestamps,
       'links' for hard links, 'context' for security context, 'xattr'
       for extended attributes, and 'all' for all attributes.

       By default, sparse SOURCE files are detected by a crude heuristic
       and the corresponding DEST file is made sparse as well.  That is
       the behavior selected by --sparse=auto.  Specify --sparse=always
       to create a sparse DEST file whenever the SOURCE file contains a
       long enough sequence of zero bytes.  Use --sparse=never to
       inhibit creation of sparse files.

       UPDATE controls which existing files in the destination are
       replaced.  'all' is the default operation when an --update option
       is not specified, and results in all existing files in the
       destination being replaced.  'none' is similar to the
       --no-clobber option, in that no files in the destination are
       replaced, but also skipped files do not induce a failure.
       'older' is the default operation when --update is specified, and
       results in files being replaced if they're older than the
       corresponding source file.

       When --reflink[=always] is specified, perform a lightweight copy,
       where the data blocks are copied only when modified.  If this is
       not possible the copy fails, or if --reflink=auto is specified,
       fall back to a standard copy.  Use --reflink=never to ensure a
       standard copy is performed.

       The backup suffix is '~', unless set with --suffix or
       SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX.  The version control method may be selected
       via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL
       environment variable.  Here are the values:

       none, off
              never make backups (even if --backup is given)

       numbered, t
              make numbered backups

       existing, nil
              numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

       simple, never
              always make simple backups

       As a special case, cp makes a backup of SOURCE when the force and
       backup options are given and SOURCE and DEST are the same name
       for an existing, regular file.

AUTHOR         top

       Written by Torbjorn Granlund, David MacKenzie, and Jim Meyering.

REPORTING BUGS         top

       GNU coreutils online help:
       Report any translation bugs to

COPYRIGHT         top

       Copyright © 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  License GPLv3+:
       GNU GPL version 3 or later <https://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>.
       This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute
       it.  There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

SEE ALSO         top


       Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/cp>
       or available locally via: info '(coreutils) cp invocation'

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the coreutils (basic file, shell and text
       manipulation utilities) project.  Information about the project
       can be found at ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/⟩.  If you
       have a bug report for this manual page, see
       ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/⟩.  This page was obtained
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       ⟨http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/coreutils/⟩ on 2023-12-22.  If you
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       manual page), send a mail to man-pages@man7.org

GNU coreutils 9.4              August 2023                         CP(1)

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